Tag: headlines

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Responsible Reporting Section 3 ‘What You Must Do’: Chapter VIII

Being so far behind serialization of my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers and so close to the end, I break the Sunday rule and sneak in an installment. That makes the next chapter the last before the book releases into the public domain.

What follows is my responsible reporting primer. The list isn’t inclusive, but encapsulates my basic guidance for writing well online during this era of contextual news gathering, 

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Whither Windows Death?

Over at BetaNews I pose question “Will you upgrade to Windows 10?” and provide readers a poll to answer the question. Timing coincides with the official launch of the platform tomorrow. To be brutally honest, I seriously considered using headline: “Will you upgrade to Windows Death?”

Because: if Windows 10 doesn’t succeed it will be the last viable version, given the success of Android or iOS; shipments of both mobile platforms either match or exceed Windows computers; and Microsoft’s advancing cloud strategy signals the end of Windows as we have come to know it, as the operating system evolves and updates in a manner more like Chrome OS than the big release delivered every few years. Then there is the criticism, much of it among beta testers, that makes upgrading to Windows 10 seem like Death. 

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My Goddamn Problem

Three months ago, I commanded: “Writers, Own Your Content!“. Some of my best tech-industry news and analysis is gone from the Web—six years of posts—because of corporation changes; one employer was acquired, while the other restructured. The sites I managed vanished. Now I defy good SEO practice and double post content to my work website and to my personal one. Art typically is different, and headlines are never the same.

Reader reaction to one recent headline just shocks me, and makes me chuckle. 

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Headline and Location Matter More Than You Think

Today I conducted an unexpected experiment when posting the same news analysis (except for outward links) to two different sites. My story responded to a lawsuit against Apple, alleging consumer harm from there being less available capacity to users than stated storage. Meaning: 16GB isn’t, because iOS 8 and preinstalled apps consume space. Funny thing: Day before seeing news about the legal filing, I nearly posted an analysis praising the company for offering double to four-times more storage than competitors give.

So I combined my response to the lawsuit with the concept; they fit. I wrote the story here but published it first to BetaNews. Difference in response to the same story posted two different places is startling. 

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I write Affirmative Headlines

This morning, I responded to a Betanews commenter who asks: “I’m curious though about one thing and have been for a time. Does a Editor or someone else choose your titles or do you?” He responded to my story “I’m Microsoft All-In“, writing: “I personally have found my groove with ‘All-in Apple. for many years.

He asks a good question, and I answer at length, which I share below (and not in block quotes for readability reasons):

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Good Headlines provoke Readers

Today at BetaNews, Brian Fagioli stirs up a hornet’s nest with story “Sorry Netflix, but you should pay ‘tolls’ to ISPs“. As I write, there are over 300 comments, in about 14 hours, and fierce debate and strong reaction among them. Funny thing: My January story “Sign me up for ‘Sponsored Data’” takes similar position—that ISPs shouldn’t give bandwidth gluttons like Netflix a free ride. I got 13 comments before they closed two weeks later.

My post focuses on a specific situation, an ISP program where services like Netflix pay and are rewarded. Brian also responds to a news trigger—Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ commentary “Internet Tolls And The Case For Strong Net Neutrality“. Headline is one of the primary reasons Brian’s story soars, while mine fell to earth. Keywords that matter to readers—we don’t care about Google—are “ISPs”, “Netflix”, and “tolls”, which punch with commanding verb “should”.

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Let Your Stories Teach You How to Write Headlines

Marco Arment got me to thinking about headlines today. Let me start by apologizing to Marco for nearly copying his post in it’s entirety. I don’t normally do that. In post “My Bad Post Titles Are Getting Out Of Control And Are Inconvenient For Techmeme, Now,” he writes:

At Least When Business Insider Copies My Articles Nearly In Their Entirety, They Write Their Own Sensational Titles To Replace Mine And Make Me Sound Much More Critical Of Apple Than My Posts Really Are, Every Single Time I Write Anything About Them.

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Headline of the Day: ‘AT&T to Welcome iPhone Users to 2003 Tomorrow’

All Things Digital—and it’s an understatement. “At some point late tomorrow morning, the carrier will release an update enabling MMS,” he writes. About a minute later, AT&T’s network will go all to hell—it’s the end of the world as we know it—as iPhoners break out in one giant unison MMS.

Ah, the iPhone. A few weeks ago, I pronounced that my Nokia N97 is gone, it’s back again. I dumped the iPhone 3GS, and I’m surprised how little I miss the smartypants phone. Perhaps it was a psychological sense of missing out on something that caused the “disconnected” feeling using the N97 that I blogged about . No more.